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TV confuses children about which foods are healthy, new study finds

his work, people invariably say that because childhood obesity is out of control in the country, a diet of rice cakes, lettuce, jelly and Diet coke wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

"But I maintain that it would be a bad thing because these foods are nutritionally vacuous," she said. "Vodka is fat-free and has zero digestible carbs, so should we have kids drinking that every morning? They need nutrients to grow, and the 'right-answer' foods in the study have more of those nutrients than the 'wrong-answer' foods."

In her report, Harrison cited previous studies that have found that 97.5 percent of the food commercials appearing on weekend morning TV network programming were for unhealthy foods -- defined as products containing significant amounts of fat, sodium, cholesterol or sugar; for weekend evening programming, 78.3 percent of the commercials were for unhealthy foods.

Therefore, whether kids are watching children's programming or adults', they are exposed to ads for unhealthy foods.

"Thus, television in general seems to be a source of nutritional misinformation, and children's exposure to television in general may increase their risk of becoming misinformed food consumers," Harrison wrote.


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Contact: Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor
andreal@uiuc.edu
217-333-2177
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
8-Jun-2005


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